So Felix Pie appears to be proving that he’s up to the challenge of playing centerfield every day in the bigs. Having been a believer of Pie’s since last season–when his numbers may not have warranted it but his presence seemed to–I’m happy about this. Of course, even if you weren’t a backer of Pie, you’d have had to have been one surefire brain-dead dolt to buy into the notion that SAM FULD! was a legitimate threat to take the position from Felix. In short, if Pie flops, then we’re looking at someobody outside the organization to play between Fonzie and K-Fuk. And frankly, I am not cuckoo for Coco Crisp, so here’s hoping Pie continues to punch the baseball in its stupid face.
So as much as I’d like to sit here and talk up Felix Pie, I saw something in Phildo’s Sunday Trib roundup that threw me for a loop. Naturally, it was something said by the no-accountability, revisionist idiot in Cincinnati–Alibi Dusty. In trying to get a hold of Corey Patterson, Baker managed to drop in this nugget (and this is not the first time he’s done this):
Jay Bruce is where Corey used to be, [with] fans saying, ‘Where’s Corey? Where’s Corey? We want Corey,’ ” Baker said. “He came up and did good, then failed a little bit and they said it was time to run him out of town and get somebody else. Corey has been through quite a bit of stuff, and because of it he is tough, although that’s a tough pill to swallow sometimes.”
There are so many things wrong with this idiocy, I’m not sure where to begin, but I’ll try.
The fans did not call Corey Patterson up to the bigs after he regressed to a .261 average in AA in 2000 after getting off to a nice start for the organization in 1998 and 1999. That would be Ed Lynch–desperate to prove, after 5+ seasons, that he had a real live offensive prospect–and Baker’s predecessor Don Baylor, who certainly did Strut no favors in touting him up, filling his head with the conceit he would strut around with years later, after a nice spring in Mesa.
The fans did not put Corey Patterson on the Cover of Baseball America in 2002, touting him as the #1 prospect in baseball.
The fans did not run Corey Patterson out of town. His own play sufficed in doing the trick. Patterson, of course, had absolutely no help from you, Dusty, in this regard. Your stubborn adherence to the absolute idea of speed needing to “be at the top” compelled you to bat Patterson leadoff, in spite of the fact that everything he had demonstrated up until that point proved he hadn’t the first clue as to what a leadoff hitter should do. Of course, being the hands-off, let ‘er rip manager that you were–which the Steroid Era so easily allowed you to be–you weren’t about to help the kid out once you stuck his “swings-from-his-ass” approach in the one-hole.
So to recap. Cubs draft Corey Patterson with the third overall pick in 1998. He enjoys immediate success at rookie ball in ’98 and then at Lansing (Low-A) in ’99 before tearing up the Arizona Fall League following that season. He gets a taste of the bigs during Spring Training 2000 and looks promising before being sent down to start the season at AA. He then proceeds to struggle at West Tennessee for the first time as a pro but the organization, desperate to prove it can produce players, ignores this evidence and gives him an undeserved September call-up anyway. The following season, he is brought back and forth three times between Des Moines and Chicago, even though his numbers at Iowa were hardly better than what his numbers at West Tennessee had been the year before. He’s called up for good in 2002–again, without having enjoyed any success since he had been a 19-year old at A ball, 3 years earlier–and puts up a mediocre .253/.284(!)/.392 line, with 19 walks in six hundred and twenty-eight trips to the plate. Then Dusty comes along with his bullshit pixie dust, and Patterson actually puts together a decent (and let’s not get carried away here–.298/.329/.511 is decent, not great) half-season, and then blows his knee out. He comes back the next year, does so-so, the Cubs get Nomar on the last day of July, and Dusty puts Patterson at leadoff where–on the strength of the best streak of hitting in his entire career–he goes .336/.388/.605 in the month of August, before he turns around and goes a disastrous .190/.250/.373 in September as the Cubs choke away a playoff berth in the final week of the season. Baker ignores Patterson’s September and banks on his August hot streak when he announces at the Cubs Convention that he will remain at leadoff in 2005. In 2005, Patterson extends his atrocious September, continues to flounder away from the leadoff spot, continues to swing from his ass, continues to prove that he doesn’t “get it” and then–and THEN the fans, after following this guy’s career for seven years, THEN the fans start to get on Patterson. The team sends him down in July hoping to humble him (it doesn’t–by now all of the undeserved promotions and insulation the team has provided him has only resulted on one painfully obstinate flop), he comes up, finishes out the string, and then gets dealt for a case of Rawlings.
That’s the story of Corey Patterson. I’m not blaming Baker entirely–Lynch and Baylor really did do more to screw him up than Dusty did–but the kid actually needed Baker to help his career, and all Baker did was put him in a position where he was doomed to fail. And now, after all is said and done, Baker so artfully lays the blame at the feet of the fans. Nice.
Well Dusty can have Corey Patterson now. I’m pretty sure the kid’s whole experience–combined with what can only be described as his own inherent sense of entitlement–has screwed him up beyond redemption. In that regard, I do believe the Cubs may have seen the error of their ways in how they handled Patterson, as they seemed to have been a bit more deliberate in bringing along Pie. Felix may struggle at times, but I’ve got a feeling that he’s going to have a better career than Patterson (not that that’s saying much). One of the big reasons for this is that Dusty F. Baker is not his manager.